Opteum Goes Private-Label to Brand Servicing Business

Opteum Financial Services, a Paramus, N.J.- based mortgage lender, said it has begun to service the company's originated and purchased mortgage loans under its own name.

The move will affect more than 45,000 loans in the company's portfolio, either directly serviced by Opteum or subserviced by Cenlar. The in-house servicing division, which has just recently been started, services about 2,000 of the company's prime-quality, agency loans. The company expects its in-house servicing volume to grow over time. The servicing platform is located in the Atlanta area.

All statements, correspondence and customer-care inquiries will now be clearly branded "Opteum Financial Services," the company said. The company said it expects the private-label servicing will offer customers a more "seamless integration" and greater clarity about all loan operations that appear on consumer credit reports.

"We're making this move now because it's important for our customers to know us as Opteum," said Robert Filiberto, senior vice president for servicing at Opteum. "It will help us build the reputation of and recognition for our new brand. However, one thing that won't change is our focus on delivering the same five-star experience to our servicing customers that they would receive anywhere else in the company."

Mr. Filiberto told MSN that the branding initiative "just expresses our commitment to deliver a level of service that assists customers and exceeds their expectations."

Opteum previously had serviced loans under the "doing business as" name of Star Mortgage Services. Now, all loans will be branded with the Opteum name to enhance the company's brand. He said this will likely enhance cross-sales opportunities in the future.

The lion's share of Opteum's portfolio, which is subserviced by Cenlar, will also be branded under Opteum's name.

The company launched its servicing division in 1999, and the company began retaining servicing rights to Opteum-originated and purchased loans in late 2001. Prior to November 2004, Opteum Financial Services was known as Homestar Mortgage Services.

Opteum operates in the retail, wholesale and correspondent lending channels. Mr. Filiberto said the company offers a broad range of prime and nonprime mortgage products across a wide geographic area, calling this diversification of products and markets one of the company's core values.

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